McCalister, Miller ready to turn back the political clockby John Kennedy | November 2nd, 2011
A pair of Republican U.S. Senate candidates showcased their stump speeches Wednesday at the Associated Press’ annual planning session at the state Capitol, with both pledging to shrink government and effectively turn back the political clock.
Craig Miller, a former restaurant executive, said it was time to end Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s four decades as an elected official, saying “I think 40 years is enough.”
He also dismissed the entry of U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers, into the race, saying it only added “one more career politician,” to a lineup that already includes former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, short-term Senate appointee George Lemieux, and tea party adherent Mike McCalister.
“I am the only true business person in the race,” Miller said.
McCalister also had a turn at the microphone, promising less regulation and “lower taxes for everyone.”
“We’ve got to get government out of the way. And we’re going to have to create a more business friendly economy,” McCalister said.
McCalister said he’d reduce federal spending by revamping Social Security and Medicare for future generations, and warned against an enduring threat of Communism. Miller derided the nation’s minimum wage, saying it hurt businesses and restrains hiring, fondly recalling working for $1-an-hour at age 13.
Mack’s entry into the race last month underscores the fluidity of the GOP contest. Polls show most Republican voters are undecided. None of the candidates have emerged as a frontrunner, and fund-raising remains modest.
Miller said that gives him a chance.
“The person that surfaces from the primary is the person with the right message, no matter where they come from,” Miller said.